“What and how much do I need to feed my new puppy?”  This is one of the most common questions we hear in the store.  Feeding high-quality food is essential to help your puppy grow up healthy and strong but their requirements are different from adults.   A puppy’s weight can double in a short period of time and a good portion of that will go into building muscle.  Because of this, puppies need about twice as much protein as an adult dog.  The protein should also come from lean meat.   In addition, puppies are born with low amounts of minerals in their skeletons.  During the first year of life they will require two to three times the amount of most minerals as adults.  Vitamins, however only need to be provided in slightly larger amounts than adult dogs.    

Large breed puppies will take 18 months to two years to fully mature and that growth should be slowly encouraged.  Their vitamin and mineral requirements are about the same as other breeds but the vitamins and minerals required for skeletal growth should be provided in controlled amounts to avoid overly rapid growth.  Large breeds should also be kept lean without being too thin.    

It is important to maintain an appropriate weight to reduce stress on growing bodies and to prevent obesity later on in life.  Those cute, pudgy little bodies should start to transform into a lean body with a light covering of fat over their ribs at about 2 months of age.  The amount of food needed each day will depend on the breed, age, activity level and weight of the individual puppy.   During the first six months, divide the daily amount into 3 or 4 meals a day.  At around 6 months, you can transition to two daily feedings per day.